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Thursday December 17, 2009

Fatine’s story

A growing number of Malaysians have voiced support for Fatine.

THINGS appear to be looking up for Fatine, the Malaysian transsexual who caused a furore back home over her marriage to a Briton. The 36-year-old make-up artist has just received an acknowledgement from the Home Office about her application for a Right to Family Life under the Human Rights Act in Britain.

Although it did not state the processing time or the chances of approval, Fatine believed that she did not fear deportation to Malaysia for the time being.

Fatine and Ian Young at their Derby home in the East Midlands, Britain. – Pic courtesy of Ian Young

For her, that’s probably a sweet consolation after several weeks of edge-of-seat moments following the rejection of her Leave to Remain visa in Britain and the subsequent appeal.

“At least, I am safe for now. They can’t deport me as my application is still under process,” said a somewhat relieved Fatine, who was born Mohammed Fazdil Min Bahari.

Her marriage to Ian Young touched a raw nerve in Malaysia, with the Immigration Department director-general Datuk Abdul Rahman Othman reportedly accusing her of having “brought great shame upon us” for overstaying in Britain.

While Fatine’s love story has irked certain quarters in Malaysia, it has also touched the hearts of many who felt she should not be penalised because she is a transsexual.

A growing number of Malaysians, including Muslims and non-Muslims, as well as non-government organisations have voiced support for Fatine either through her Facebook chat group or the media.

In fact, the British media seems to have taken a more sympathetic view towards her plight, with several television stations including the BBC, approaching the couple to shoot documentaries on their case.

But while there is a growing support group in Fatine’s Facebook, it has also turned into a religious debate with some critical views about her marriage.

Fatine said she had, from the start, appealed to the people not to judge her based on the religious viewpoint.

“If they want to judge me, please do so based on humanitarian grounds as I just want to be with the man I love.

“I know what I did was wrong according to my religion. That’s why I came to Britain (for my civil marriage) because I respect the laws in Malaysia,” she said.

Fatine reiterated that she was scared to return home now following the Immigration Department’s adverse reaction towards her case.

“Of course, I want to go back and visit my mother but I am worried they will confiscate my passport and bar me from travelling for two years.

“How can I live without Ian for two years?” she asked in exasperation.

It’s indeed sad to see some people judging the couple in a negative light when there are far more serious moral issues that needed attention back home.

While the law must be complied with in whatever circumstances, all decisions should be tempered with compassion where there is a grey area in the decision-making process.


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